Three Keys to Employee Retention: Engagement, Passion, and Trust

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Early in my career, I found myself disliking a job I’d previously enjoyed. I did some career testing and found that both the job and the work that came with it was a great fit for me. What had changed?  

 After some introspection I identified the shift. Our team had a new leader who did not value teamwork and was not as inclusive as my previous manager. I was engaged in my work but lost passion for the organization because of his approach (or lack thereof) to leadership and teamwork. Ultimately, I left that job, went to work for another organization in the same field, and stayed in that line of work for more than a decade.  

From a leader’s perspective, situations like the one above may sound like this:  

  • “We hire great people, but they don’t stay.”  
  • “My best employee left unexpectedly. I thought they were happy here.”
  • “While some of our teams are performing well, we just can’t get that level of engagement throughout the entire organization.”   

Engagement Isn’t Enough

Many companies talk about, measure, and evaluate employee engagement, but that’s not enough. According to Integro Leadership Institute, the majority of employees are engaged, but  “of these engaged employees, approximately half are passionate about the organization.” Integro found that employees who are not passionate are harder to retain and less likely to perform at their best.  

To put it simply, your employees’ engagement and passion are affecting your organization’s bottom line 

The Passion Pyramid 

Just as all humans have a hierarchy of needs, all employees have five basic needs in the workplace. When those needs are met, employees are not only engaged in their work; they are passionate about the organization they work for. Integro calls these needs The Passion Pyramid™.  Let’s take a quick look at each need and what it looks like in the workplace.  

To Be Respected. Employees need to feel that leaders listen to them and seek their input when decisions will affect them. Developing these people skills builds trust and boosts employee engagement.    

To Learn and Grow. Great leaders will provide opportunities for employees to develop and learn new skills and grow within the organization. This is where developing skills as a coach rather than task manager are key.  

To Be an “Insider”. Employees who have a strong emotional connection to their organization feel valued and involved. When employees are well informed and have a great relationship with their manager, they develop that connection.  

To Do Meaningful Work. Humans need to know that the work they do makes the world a better place. Leaders must help employees understand the purpose of their work and how it makes a difference in the lives of others.  

To Be on a Winning Team. Building a high performing team is vital to organizational success.  This is the result of meeting all the other employee needs on the pyramid. While this doesn’t happen overnight, it is worth the time and effort to develop these skills!  

How to Identify At-Risk Employees  

Research shows that people leave managers, not companies. In my early career work, the factor that impacted my decision to leave wasn’t the organization or the type of work I was doing. It was my new manager. I no longer felt that my contributions were valued or respected. When my basic needs as an employee were not met, I lost my passion for that organization, and ultimately found an employer that did respect me.  

This is not a rare occurrence. Integro found that approximately 34% of employees are engaged with their work but are not passionate about the organization they do it for. These are high performing employees that  organizations are at risk of losing – perhaps to a competitor.

This is why it is imperative that leaders know how to recognize and meet the five basic needs. The Employee Passion Survey and Culture Assessment ranks employees on these five levels and helps identify potential emotional disconnect that can hinder otherwise engaged employees. By identifying the gaps in employees’ emotional needs, organizations can identify how to better serve their people and how to improve their approach to leadership.  

If you’re tired of engagement surveys that don’t hit the mark, the Trust Inside Assessments Employee Passion Survey and Culture Assessment might be a better fit for your organization. Contact me for a complimentary consultation.  

POSTED ON: Coaching, Culture, Leadership, Management, Productivity, Team Development, Training
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